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Playing Role of Pesticide ‘Cheerleader,’ EPA Rebukes Calif. With Ban on Warning Labels for Roundup

Playing Role of Pesticide ‘Cheerleader,’ EPA Rebukes Calif. With Ban on Warning Labels for Roundup

“It’s the Environmental Protection Agency, not the pesticide protection agency.”

Roundup

 “It’s a little bit sad,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity, “the EPA is the biggest cheerleader and defender of glyphosate.” (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency was accused of being a pesticide “cheerleader” last week after the agency said it would not approval labels that say that glyphosate—the active ingredient in Roundup and other weedkillers—is known to cause cancer.

In a statement released Thursday announcing the move, the EPA dug in on its assertion that glyphosate does not cause cancer, though critics have said that is “an industry-friendly conclusion that’s simply not based on the best available science.”

The new guidance takes aim at California’s 2017 move, in adherence with its Proposition 65, to add glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer and require warning labels. The state cited the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer 2015 assessment that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

The EPA, however, said those labels provided consumers with false information.

“We will not allow California’s flawed program to dictate federal policy,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in the statement.

The EPA also sent a letter to manufactures on Aug. 7 saying that “pesticide products bearing the Proposition 65 warning statement due to the presence of glyphosate are misbranded” under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

The letter, signed by Michael Goodis, head of EPA’s registration division in its Office of Pesticide Programs, said EPA would not approve labeling with that warning, and that “EPA requests the submission of draft amended labeling that removes such language within ninety days of the date of this letter.”

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With Youth Climate Actions Backed by Leading Experts, Latest Round of Protests Highlights Call for Bold and Urgent Action

With Youth Climate Actions Backed by Leading Experts, Latest Round of Protests Highlights Call for Bold and Urgent Action

“We can change it all if we want it all, and we do.”

Protesters hold signs at the YouthStrike4Climate student march on April 12, 2019 in London.

Protesters hold signs at the YouthStrike4Climate student march on April 12, 2019 in London. Students are protesting across the U.K. due to the lack of government action to combat climate change. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The latest round of weekly climate strikes took place in cities across the globe on Friday as a group of experts said that the youthful protesters deserve the support of the international community, and backed their call for “rapid and forceful action.”

London was among dozens of U.K. cities where #FridaysforFuture actions took place. One of the protesters there was 21-year-old Cameron Joshi, who told the Guardian:“The global system of trade benefits them, not us, it’s built for consumption. But they’re fucking afraid of us.”

And they should be, he said.

“They fear us because they know if we get our shit together we can change the world. We’re at an absolutely seminal point in history, years of consumerism, capitalism, and environmental murder, and we can change it all if we want it all, and we do.”

Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen who spearheaded the school strike for climate campaign, took to Twitter to share images of many of the protests:

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Students from Istanbul made their first school strike for climate today. New students are on the way 12.04.2019

🌿

#fridaysforfuture#schoolstrikeforclimate@GretaThunberg#iklimdegisikligi#iklimkrizi

Embedded video

Der Demo-Zug von #fridaysforfuture in #Potsdam ist jetzt am Landtag angekommen. @PNN_de @F4F_Potsdam

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Warning ‘Every Option Is On the Table,’ Pompeo Stokes Fears of Military Force in Venezuela

Warning ‘Every Option Is On the Table,’ Pompeo Stokes Fears of Military Force in Venezuela

Comments from secretary of state come day before Vice President Mike Pence heads to the Colombian capital for an emergency summit.

People hold posters during a demonstration by Venezuelans against foreign intervention under the slogan #VenezuelaQuierePaz (Venezuela Wants Peace) at United States Embassy on February 18, 2019 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo: Franco Fasuli/Getty Images)

People hold posters during a demonstration by Venezuelans against foreign intervention under the slogan #VenezuelaQuierePaz (Venezuela Wants Peace) at United States Embassy on February 18, 2019 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo: Franco Fasuli/Getty Images)Unrest and fears of U.S. military intervention in Venezuela continued on Sunday as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated the Trump administration’s warning that “every option is on the table” and that it would galvanize a “global coalition to put force behind the voice” of those calling for the ouster of President Nicolás Maduro.

Pompeo made the comments on “Fox News Sunday” hours after he tweeted that the “U.S. will take action against those who oppose the peaceful restoration of democracy in #Venezuela,” an apparent reference to those who do not back a regime change to opposition leader and self-declared acting president Juan Guaido.

Embedded video

On possible military option in #Venezuela, @SecPompeo tells Chris: Every option is on the table, we’re going to do the things that need to be done to make sure that the Venezuelans people’s voice, that democracy reigns & that there’s a brighter future for the people of Venezuela.

Guaido, as Bloomberg reported Sunday,

said that he’ll meet Monday with officials from countries in the region backing his push to topple Maduro and announce the next steps afterward. While he didn’t specify what those steps could be, he did say in a series of tweets that “all options” are being considered.

Shortly thereafter, Senator Marco Rubio [R-Fla.], who’s helped spearhead the U.S. position on Venezuela, posted a tweet showing Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega under arrest in the U.S. in what was a not-so-subtle threat to take Maduro out militarily.

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Former Bank of Canada Head: Pipeline Protesters May Be Killed. So Be It.

Former Bank of Canada Head: Pipeline Protesters May Be Killed. So Be It.

“North American governments have shown the ‘fortitude’ necessary to kill indigenous people often enough that this is no idle threat,” warns Bill McKibben.

Protesters at a rally in Vancouver to show opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline on September 9th, 2017. (Photo: William Chen/flickr/cc)

Protesters at a rally in Vancouver to show opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline on September 9th, 2017. (Photo: William Chen/flickr/cc)

As Canada’s controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project faces ongoingopposition, the former governor of the Bank of Canada said that protesters may die but that the government should push the project through anyway.

Speaking at an event Wednesday, David Dodge said, “We’re going to have some very unpleasant circumstances,” the Edmonton Journal reported. “There are some people that are going to die in protesting construction of this pipeline. We have to understand that.”

“Nevertheless, we have to be willing to enforce the law once it’s there,” Dodge said. “It’s going to take some fortitude to stand up.”

In an interview with the Journal, he elaborated by saying, “We have seen it other places, that equivalent of religious zeal leading to flouting of the law in a way that could lead to death.”

Dodge’s comments prompted outrage from climate activists.

Author and 350-org co-founder Bill McKibben warned, “North American governments have shown the ‘fortitude’ necessary to kill indigenous people often enough that this is no idle threat,” while Canandian author Naomi Klein called the threat a “disgrace.” She added, “If the worst happens, we now know they went into this with their eyes wide open.”

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Tripling Its Collection, NSA Sucked Up Over 530 Million US Phone Records in 2017

Tripling Its Collection, NSA Sucked Up Over 530 Million US Phone Records in 2017

“Overall, the numbers show that the scale of warrantless surveillance is growing at a significant rate,” says POGO’s Jake Laperruque.

In 2017, the NSA tripled the amount of data it collected from U.S. phones. (Image EFF Photos/flickr/cc)

In 2017, the NSA tripled the amount of data it collected from U.S. phones. (Image EFF Photos/flickr/cc)

The National Security Agency (NSA) collected over 530 million phone records of Americans in 2017—that’s three times the amount the spy agency sucked up in 2016.

The figures were released Friday in an annual report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

It shows that the number of “call detail records” the agency collected from telecommunications providers during Trump’s first year in office was 534 million, compared to 151 million the year prior.

“The intelligence community’s transparency has yet to extend to explaining dramatic increases in their collection,” said Robyn Greene, policy counsel at the Open Technology Institute.

The content of the calls itself is not collected but so-called “metadata,” which, as Gizmodo notes, “is supposedly anonymous, but it can easily be used to identify an individual. The information can also be paired with other publicly available information from social media and other sources to paint a surprisingly detailed picture of a person’s life.”

The report also revealed that the agency, using its controversial Section 702 authority, increased the number of foreign targets of warrantless surveillance. It was 129,080 in 2017 compared to 106,469 in 2016.

As digital rights group EFF noted earlier this year,

Under Section 702, the NSA collects billions of communications, including those belonging to innocent Americans who are not actually targeted. These communications are then placed in databases that other intelligence and law enforcement agencies can access—for purposes unrelated to national security—without a warrant or any judicial review.

“Overall,” Jake Laperruque, senior counsel at the Project On Government Oversight, said to ZDNet, “the numbers show that the scale of warrantless surveillance is growing at a significant rate, but ODNI still won’t tell Americans how much it affects them.”

Climate Bellwether? With Cape Town Almost Out of Water, “Day Zero” Looms

Climate Bellwether? With Cape Town Almost Out of Water, “Day Zero” Looms

In less than three months, residents in South African city could be lining up for rationed water under armed guards. “Is this the new normal?”

Tree trunks stand in the critically low Theewaterskloof Dam in Villiersdorp, South Africa, Jan. 23, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)

Tree trunks stand in the critically low Theewaterskloof Dam in Villiersdorp, South Africa, Jan. 23, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)

For residents of Cape Town, “Day Zero” is getting closer.

That’s the day when taps in the drought-stricken coastal South African city are projected run dry, and its residents would be forced to head to police-guarded distribution sites to obtain their daily ration of water.

“Anyone who works in climate change knows that we’ve given lots of quite doomsday-esque scenarios in the last two decades. This is the first one which I’ve really seen come true.”
—climatologist Simon Gear
The city warned last week that the day was “now likely to happen.” And on Monday, the city, citing a drop in dam levels, moved the projected day up from April 22 to April 12.

“We have reached a point of no return,” Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said last week announcing tightened water restrictions for the city’s 4 million residents. Starting Feb. 1, residents face a 50 liter per day limit (13.2 gallons). [For comparison, Americans’ daily home use is 88 gallons of water, the EPA says.]

When Day Zero hits, the limit will be 25 liters per day, to be collected at one of 200 water collection points. Agence France-Presse reports: “With about 5,000 families for each water collection point, the police and army are ready to be deployed to prevent unrest in the lines.”

USA Today, however, reported that “Each collection point will accommodate around 20,000 people per day.”

Cape Town is being described as the first major city in the developed world that would run out of water.

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